NRD Board Offers Name for New Flood Prevention Reservoir and Recreation Area

NRD Board Offers Name for New Flood Prevention Reservoir and Recreation Area


New Board Members Sworn In


     Four recently-elected members of the Papio-Missouri River NRD Board of Directors were sworn in at this meeting. The new members include Subdistrict 1, Ted Japp, Blair;  Subdistrict 3, Larry Bradley, Omaha; Subdistrict 9, Mark Gruenewald, Omaha; and Subdistrict 11, John B. Wiese, Papillion.



NRD Board Offers Name for New Flood Prevention Reservoir and Recreation Area


     Dam Site 15A, under construction by the Papio-Missouri River NRD near 168th and Fort Streets may be named for Dr. Susan LaFlesche Picotte, first Native American woman to earn a medical degree in the United States. The Board of Directors of the NRD voted to present a resolution to the City of Omaha requesting that Dam Site 15A be officially named “Dr. Susan LaFlesche Picotte Lake and Recreation Area. Once completed by the NRD, the City of Omaha will assume recreational management of the site and is responsible for naming the site under an agreement with the NRD.


     “Dr. Picotte’s achievements are certainly impressive and undoubtedly worthy of this honor,” said John Winkler, NRD General Manager.

     Susan LaFlesche Picotte was born in 1865 on the Omaha reservation near Macy, Nebraska. She attended the Macy mission school and later studied at the Elizabeth Institute in New Jersey. She returned to the reservation in 1882 and taught at the agency school before leaving again for more education, this time at the Hampton Institute in Hampton, Virginia from 1884 to 1886.


     LaFlesche was then accepted at the Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania, one of only a few medical schools on the east coast accepting women students. She graduated at the top of her class on March 14, 1889 after a rigorous three-year course of study.


     LaFlesche returned to the Omaha reservation in 1889 to take up her position as the physician at the government boarding school on the reservation, run by the Office of Indian Affairs. There she was responsible for teaching the students about hygiene and keeping them healthy.  LaFlesche found herself caring for many members of the community in addition to the children of the school. In 1894, LaFlesche met and became engaged to Henry Picotte, a Sioux Indian from the Yankton agency and the two were married in June of that year.


She later practiced public advocacy against alcohol use and other public health issues in the community including school hygiene, food sanitation, and efforts to combat the spread of tuberculosis. She served on the health board of the town of Walthill, and was a founding member of the Thurston County Medical Society in 1907.



Emmett J Egr, APR

Information/Education Coordinator

Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District

8901 S 154th St, Omaha, NE 68138


eegr [at]